YOUNG Warrnambool jumps jockey Brad Thomas-Rantall nearly caused a major upset in the $125,000 Great Northern Steeplechase at Ellerslie in New Zealand on Saturday.
Thomas-Rantall rode the rank outsider Kings Kate into second-place finishing just over a length behind Wise Men Say in New Zealand's jumps feature over 6400 metres.
The former Warrnambool College student said he was excited with the performance of Kings Kate.
"It was a great effort by the horse," Thomas-Rantall said. "My bloke finished the race off strongly. I was making ground on the winner over the concluding stages but the post just came up too quick. It was a huge thrill to run second in the biggest steeplechase in New Zealand."
The 22-year-old, who made his Australian jumps debut at this year's Warrnambool May Racing Carnival is related to the late legendary Warrnambool jockey Neville Rantall who rode in 20 point-to-point races in Ireland where he finished in second place on five occasions.
"I jumped at the chance to come over to New Zealand to work for legendary jumps trainer Kevin Myers," Thomas-Rantall said.
"I've got to thank fellow jumps jockey Richard Cully. He got me the job with Kevin.
"I've been in New Zealand since August 8 and will head back home to Warrnambool on September 29.
"It's been a wonderful opportunity to work with Kevin.
"He's one of the legends in jumps racing.
"The working holiday will be a big bonus for my career.
"I've found the tempo in jumps races over here is a lot slower then in Australia.
"The boys back home ride a lot tighter and the tempo is a lot quicker in races.
"My main aim with my career going forward is to ride the winner of the Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase.
"It's the jumps race that every jockey wants to win."
Thomas-Rantall ran second on Country Bumpkin in a hurdle race earlier in the day at the Ellerslie meeting.
Taking a break
THE tough grind of seven day racing and training horses takes its toll on everyone.
Veteran trainer Eric Musgrove is the latest trainer to get off the constant merry-go-round called racing.
Musgrove and his wife Inez plus some close family friends have ventured overseas for a month's break after another successful jumps season.
The Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase winning trainer told The Standard from Italy that the month break away is needed to recharge his body and mind.
"It's great to get off the merry-go-round," Musgrove said.
"It's just constant every day. I've been looking forward to the break for a few months.
"It can get very tiring travelling all over Victoria and to South Australia with jumpers and flat horses to race and trial.
"I was quite happy with how the stable performed in this jumps.
"It's taken me a few days but I'm just starting to unwind.
"We're in Italy and just enjoying some of the magnificent places across Europe.
"I'm lucky that I've got great staff back home so the stable will keep on operating while we're away."
Musgrove arrives back in Australia on October 4.
Ginny Ann plan
WARRNAMBOOL trainer Symon Wilde will push ahead with plans to run his filly Ginny Ann in the $1 million Thousand Guineas following her second placing in a restricted race at Sandown last week.
The lightly raced Ginny Ann won her debut run at this year's Warrnambool May Carnival. She followed that run up with an unplaced performance in a group three National Stakes at Morphettville in May
Wilde said he could offer no excuses for Ginny Ann's failure at Morphettville.
"She just never went a yard in the National, he said. "She was extremely disappointing. We thought she would have run better in that race. We gave her a good break after the poor run and she's come back into work in great shape. I know there were only six runners at Sandown but she hit the line well. We'll now set a program to have her ready for the Thousand Guineas on October 12."
From her three starts Ginny Ann has picked up $90,000 in stakemoney for her connections.
JOCKEY Jarrod Lorensini pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge following his ride on Pellina at Casterton on Sunday.
Stewards found that approaching the 200 metre mark Lorensini carelessly permitted Pellina to shift in when not sufficiently clear of Ruby Eyes taking that mare in, resulting in Ruby Eyes being checked off the heels of Locktoba Rocks.
The stewards acknowledged Locktoba Rocks shifted out marginally.
Lorensini's suspension commences at midnight on September 14 and concludes midnight September 24. It was deemed by the stewards the incident was in the mid-range and took into account his record and guilty plea.
WEIGHTS for the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup this year will be announced at Racing Victoria's headquarters on Tuesday, September 10. The $5.15 million Caulfield Cup will be run on Saturday, October 19 while the $8 million Melbourne Cup is set down for decision on Tuesday, November 5.